From Racine Tradition to a Lifetime of Love

It was back when Racine was the “Drum Corps Capital of the World”.  The Kilties has just come off their consecutive National Championship years of 1968 and 1969. At the time they only admitted males to their membership.  In fact, almost every competitive team in Racine was limited to males because it was before Title IX called for gender equity in sports. So I joined a newly formed Color Guard, The Liberty Belles, named for the “Belle City of the Lakes”.  Right out of the gate, we earned State Championship honors in Summer Color Guard.

When the winter season began, some of the Kilties (who were used to being the “champs” in Racine) were not necessarily happy to have a bunch of girls from their hometown getting some attention for their excellence.  A rivalry started and it got pretty heated at times. At one Championship, the Kilties beat The Belles by only 5 hundredths of a point. Back in Racine at Memorial Hall, The Kilties won the event hosted by the “Belles”. Of course, as the “home team” the Belles were handing out awards. When it came time to acknowledge First Place, I was one of two Guard Captains charged with presenting trophies.  As the representative for the Kilties stepped forward my fellow Captain said to me “I am NOT handing a trophy to the Kilties’ representative OR shaking his hand.” The rivalry had gotten the best of her. So I turned to her and reluctantly agreed to handle the responsibility. I admitted “I don’t really know this guy from the Kilties (who was coming forward to receive the award) but know both his sisters and they are pretty cool so he can’t be SO bad.”  Cameras flashed and caught the presentation for posterity.  

Soon I came to know this “guy from the Kilties” and whose hand I so reluctantly shook. We good friends (although STILL rivals!) Friendship grew into love and we were married in 1975, with the Groomsmen in full Kiltie uniform and the Belles as an Honor Guard. Unfortunately, after 42 years of marriage, “that guy from the Kilties” passed away in 2017. Our biological families and our Kiltie and Liberty Belle “families” were all there with my daughter and me as we celebrated the life of my best friend and husband, Ken Morrall.